Thursday, June 26, 2008

Manila - Week 1 Update

I know, it's been several days since my last post, but we really kinda' hit the ground running and this is my first chance to sit down at a computer for more than 5 minutes without either having to run off to rehearsal or put my butt in bed before I pass out sitting up. I have the day off today, though; I think Lea has some press stuff all day, and since all my scenes are with her, I get to look at my lines poolside today. :)

Typhoon Frank/Fengshen finally left the Philippines on Monday, but the country is still dealing with the aftermath. It's really quite sad - the newspapers are still headlining with all the damage, injuries, lives lost, etc. I don't have the paper in front of me, but I read at breakfast that there are close to 500 dead, maybe 250 injured, and a couple hundred more still missing or unaccounted for. Over 70,000 homes destroyed . . . ugh. They're retiring the name "Frank" from the list because of it's severity. Not sure how much news has covered it in the US, but it's quite serious over here.

Other than than the typhoons, though, Manila is lovely. It's about 80 degrees every day, sunny, tropical breezes blowing . . . perfect, really. I don't even turn the AC on. We're rehearsing right by the ocean - I walked down to the beach yesterday to eat lunch and was, unfortunately, quite disappointed. It wasn't really a beach; it was somewhat fenced off, but a portion of it had fallen into disrepair and I crossed through that. Wish I hadn't. The waves hitting the coastline were more litter and trash than they were water, and the water itself was actually brown. I've never seen the ocean that color. There's signs and tips advertised everywhere about living and working "green" in the Philippines, but I guess that'll take some time to take effect. Further south, though, is supposed to be some great surfing and scuba-diving. The Philippines has the largest populations of humpback and whale sharks of anywhere in the world, so I'm hoping I'll have a chance to make it out on a boat to spot some. (Might even try surfing again, who knows?)

I'm struggling a bit to find what is specifically Philippine culture - food, art, etc. Manila is apparently quite diverse, and especially where we're at. We're staying in a more international business-oriented area of Manila, so I see people from all over the world at breakfast. Even the TV channels speak to that; they have CNN, BBC World, some possibly Korean channel (?), several Philippino stations (where they speak in kind of the Philippine equivalent of Spanglish, half Tagalog/Filipino and half English - took me a while to realize it wasn't my ears just misunderstanding half of what they said), and - randomly - a German channel. We're right next to a GIANT mall - and I am NOT exaggerating - a mall so big there is nothing else around but MORE mall. Hopefully once I settle into the time change and rehearsals, I'll see about how to get a little further away from our hotel.

They have these public transport/buses called jeepneys. They're supposed to be super cheap, but I have to admit I'm a little hesitant because I've yet to actually see one STOP. Just yesterday I watched as a dozen people got out of this vehicle that really probably only seats 4-6 adults (?!?) AS IT WAS STILL MOVING. It did slow down a bit for them, but I'm just clumsy enough to break something vital trying to crawl in and out of a moving vehicle, so we'll see if I ever work up the nerve.

Anyway, all is good over here with me. I did finally buy a digital camera, and even took a picture. Yes, ONE. I'll keep working on that so I can post some photos here eventually. For now, I'm off to finish "God of War" on my PSP and then maybe go get an $8 hour-long massage . . . I know, ridiculous, right?!? Sure am loving it here! :)


Michele said...

Charlie Parker! You definitely have to go out and try to spy a Whale Shark. We saw some in the Atlanta aquarium two summers ago and they BLEW MY MIND. Do you know they can grow to be the size of a SCHOOL BUS? Anyway, I am just sharing my excitement re: The Whale Sharks. :) -Michele Gray

Lisa S. said...

Mizz Charlie Parker! I am so glad that you're safe and having a wonderfully cultured experience and all...but I'm mad about those $8 an hour massages! You can't even get touched for that price in NYC. Well, enjoy it, lady. Have 20 for me.

Looking forward to the next blog :-)

Nicole's Mama said...

Welcome to the Philippines, Charlie Parker!